It probably won’t come as news, given the intense affection the typical cat owner feels toward his or her pet, that doing anything that places one of these beloved creatures in harm’s way constitutes a serious felony in the court of feline justice.
One East 77th Street resident found out firsthand just how serious an offense this can be when, on March 16, he was having a couch delivered to his apartment and left his building’s front door open for the delivery.
While he was waiting for the furniture, a cat belonging to his neighbors-two women, one of them 34, the other 33-exited the building and fled in an unknown direction. The animal apparently was accustomed to having the run of the apartment building’s hallway. While some people might think the cat’s owners should bear some responsibility for the consequences of letting their pet frolic about outside the apartment, the owners themselves didn’t see it that way.
“You killed our cat!” they allegedly informed the 25-year-old victim. “We will kill you!”
The death sentence was at least temporarily delayed when the fellow found the kitty and returned him to his owners. However, the young man, shaken by the event and still fearing for his safety, filed a harassment complaint with the police. He said that even after he had presented the unharmed cat to his neighbors, they continued to yell and threaten him.
There are many different ways to redecorate your living room. One of them is to purchase on the installment plan. A faster way is to follow a furniture truck, as a couple of suspects did on March 15, and then help yourself to your favorite settee when the driver abandons the vehicle to make a delivery.
That’s what occurred at 11:15 a.m. when the victim, employed by the Carlyle Collection of Lodi, N.J., parked in front of 1186 Madison Avenue while making a delivery at 55 East 87th Street. When he returned to his truck, he discovered that someone had broken the latch off the rear door and absconded with a green sofa bed valued at $3,575.
The cops canvassed the area, with positive results-not in the sense that they caught the perps, but in the sense that they at least found a witness to the deed. A man who was also making a delivery in the area told the police that he’d seen two men pull up behind the truck in a red vehicle, remove a sofa from the back of the truck, place it on top of their rig with the skill and alacrity of expert movers, and flee northbound on Madison Avenue. One of the movers, the witness reported, was even dressed for the part, in a green work suit.
In another crime of opportunity, an employee of Max Mara, at 813 Madison Avenue, left four boxes outside the store at 4:10 p.m. for FedEx to pick up. The boxes, whose contents (assorted clothing) was valued at $10,425, were taken promptly-unfortunately, not by the express-mail service.
Two unknown perps jumped out of a dark blue minivan, helped themselves to the parcels, jumped back in the van and fled northbound on Madison Avenue. The victim did manage to jot down the license-plate number before they departed.
Labels for Much Less
The cops had more successful results on March 15 at around 1 p.m., when a couple of members of the 19th Precinct grand-larceny squad (they go out hunting for grand larcenies in progress) chanced upon some action going down at the Gap at 1149 Third Avenue.
The police officers-Neil Hicks and Neil Ariano-observed a man and a woman enter the store. The supposed shoppers caught the attention of the two cops because they fit the description of individuals wanted for numerous grand larcenies at commercial establishments.
A short time later, Officer Hicks witnessed the man depart with a duffel bag. This was particularly significant in light of the fact that he hadn’t been carrying one when he entered the store. As the suspect got into his car, a 2001 white Toyota, the cop stopped him and asked him a few questions. As he did, he happened to notice enough clothing in the back seat-all of it with the price tags still attached-to open up a small boutique.
The suspects, a 21-year-old man from Elmhurst, N.Y., and a 56-year-old woman from Ozone Park, were placed under arrest and taken to the 19th Precinct, where they were debriefed by Sergeant Benny Carbone of the grand-larceny squad.
The perps proved to be quite cooperative, supplying the police with the name and location of the place in Jackson Heights where they go to fence their stolen merchandise.
Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.